Allegheny County has the most motor vehicle collisions of any county in Pennsylvania. In fact, it accounts for roughly 10 percent of all collisions in the state, outranking the more populous Philadelphia County by nearly 700.
Motor vehicle crashes can happen anywhere and anytime, but where are the most dangerous areas for drivers in Allegheny County? Dallas W. Hartman identified intersections and areas throughout the county where drivers are put at the highest risk of a motor vehicle accident.
With the help of data visualization firm 1Point21 Interactive, we collected and analyzed three full years of Allegheny County crash data (2014-2016). Then, through geospatial processing, identified 787 intersections where five or more crashes occurred.
We found that a very smaller percentage of intersections account for a disproportionately high share of collisions – 41 percent of all intersection related crashes in Allegheny County occurred at one of these 787.
We then narrowed the list down to the 50 most dangerous intersections based on crash volume and injury severity.
The 50 Most Dangerous Intersections in Allegheny County
|Rank||Road 1||Road 2||Municipality||Crashes||CRI Score|
|1||WEST END BR||W CARSON ST||Pittsburgh||93||223|
|2||MCARDLE RD||LIBERTY TUNNEL/BRIDGE||Pittsburgh||65||122.5|
|3||SAW MILL RUN BL||WHITED/COLERAIN ST||Pittsburgh||36||113.5|
|4||WEST END BR||HWY 65 OFFRAMP||Pittsburgh||42||92|
|5||MADISON AV CONN FR 28 RD||E OHIO ST||Pittsburgh||26||78.5|
|6||MOSSIDE BL||LINCOLN HWY||North Versailles Twp||10||75|
|7||PERRY HW||BRADFORD DR||Pine Twp||16||73.5|
|8||MCKEES ROCKS BR||HWY 65||Pittsburgh||36||73.5|
|9||PENN AV||DAVID MCCULLOUGH BR||Pittsburgh||10||72.5|
|10||SOUTH DALLAS AV||PENN AVE||Pittsburgh||23||70.5|
|11||5TH AV||SHADY AVE||Pittsburgh||28||70.5|
|12||9TH ST||LIBERTY AVE||Pittsburgh||6||68.5|
|13||UNIVERSITY BL||CAMPUS DR||Moon Twp||20||67.5|
|14||RAMP B RD||WASHINGTON PIKE||Collier Twp||30||67.5|
|15||SAW MILL RUN BL||EDGEBROOK AVE||Pittsburgh||34||66.5|
|16||HOT METAL ST||SECOND AVE||Pittsburgh||16||66|
|17||MCKNIGHT RD||CUMBERLAND RD||McCandless Twp||28||65.5|
|18||LINCOLN HW||PARK AVE||East McKeesport Boro||10||65|
|19||UNIVERSAL RD||TWIN OAK DR||Penn Hills Twp||12||64.5|
|20||SIEBERT RD||MCKNIGHT RD||Ross Twp||17||62|
|21||GENERAL ROBINSON ST||SANDUSKY ST||Pittsburgh||22||62|
|22||SMITHFIELD ST||FOURTH AVE||Pittsburgh||2||62|
|23||RAMP Q RD||N/A||Millvale Boro||23||60.5|
|24||GIST ST||FORBES AVE||Pittsburgh||29||59|
|25||LINCOLN HW||MORROW RD||Forest Hills Boro||13||55.5|
|26||PATTON DR||UNIVERSITY BLVD||Moon Twp||15||55|
|27||5TH AV||S NEGLEY AVE||Pittsburgh||30||55|
|28||STEUBEN ST||LINCOLN HWY||North Fayette Twp||17||54.5|
|29||PENN AV||HOMEWOOD AVE||Pittsburgh||17||54.5|
|30||GENERAL ROBINSON ST||ANDERSON ST||Pittsburgh||20||52.5|
|31||BLAZIER DR||MCKNIGHT RD||McCandless Twp||19||51.5|
|32||SAW MILL RUN BL||BAUSMAN ST||Pittsburgh||31||51|
|33||NEGLEY AV||PENN AVE||Pittsburgh||10||50|
|34||HOFFMAN BL||DUQUESNE BLVD||West Mifflin Boro||17||49.5|
|35||MILLVALE AV||BAUM BLVD||Pittsburgh||16||48.5|
|36||EAST CARSON ST||SMITHFIELD ST BR||Pittsburgh||8||48|
|37||PAINTERS RUN RD||ROBB HOLLOW RD||Upper Saint Clair Twp||8||48|
|38||BAKERSTOWN/WARRENDALE RD||PERRY HWY||Marshall Twp||13||48|
|39||BRADDOCK AV||WOODSTOCK AVE||Swissvale Boro||5||47.5|
|40||GROVE RD||MCROBERTS RD||Castle Shannon Boro||12||47|
|41||EAST ST||MADISON AVE||Pittsburgh||23||45.5|
|42||LEBANON CHURCH RD||DELWAR RD||West Mifflin Boro||20||45|
|43||CORK-BOCKTOWN RD||LINCOLN HWY||Findlay Twp||5||45|
|44||PENN AV||28TH ST||Pittsburgh||12||44.5|
|45||16TH ST||LIBERTY AVE||Pittsburgh||22||44.5|
|46||THORN RUN RD||UNIVERSITY BLVD||Moon Twp||9||44|
|47||EVANS ST||LYSLE BLVD||McKeesport||11||43.5|
|48||MILLVALE INT/RMP E RD||EVERGREEN RD||Shaler Twp||13||43|
|49||WASHINGTON BL||SHETLAND ST||Pittsburgh||8||43|
|50||WOODRUFF JUGHANDLE RD||SAW MILL RUN BL||Pittsburgh||23||43|
The Crash Risk Index (CRI) is a composite score that takes crash volume and severity into account. Higher CRI values indicate more dangerous intersections.
Most notable areas of concern include:
The West End Bridge: The intersection at West End Bridge and West Carson Street is the most dangerous intersection in Allegheny County. This location scored highest in our analysis due to having the highest number of both crashes and injuries. Looking at the intersection, it’s easy to see why. Several streets and highways merge together to create an expansive and confusing intersection. During the study period, 93 total crashes occurred, resulting in 3 major injuries, 14 moderate injuries, and 15 minor injuries.
The other side of West End Bridge, intersecting with the Highway 65 offramp, is also of great concern – where 42 separate crashes occurred, with 16 injuries reported.
The MCardle Road and Liberty Bridge intersection: Another intersection involving a bridge where 65 crashes occurred, resulting in 1 fatality and 13 injuries.
Saw Mill Run Blvd and Colerain Street: The Saw Mill Run Blvd and Colerain Street intersection had a reported 36 crashes with 20 injuries – the second most injuries and fourth most total crashes.
As expected, the most dangerous areas are found in Pittsburgh.
The county seat and most populous city, Pittsburgh has also been found to be among the worst commutes in the country, with extended rush hours, frequent traffic bottlenecks, and high congestion a common occurrence at all times of the day. The result is a city with one of the highest frequencies of crashes: and our data bears that out – with eight of the top ten all within the municipality of Pittsburgh city.
Interactive Map: The Most Dangerous Places for Allegheny County Drivers
The map below shows where the high crash zones as well as dangerous intersections are located throughout the county. Larger circle sizes denote intersections with higher crash volumes, while high crash zones are highlighted in pink.
Concentrations of Motor Vehicle Accidents and Dangerous intersections
From 2014-2016, over 15,700 crashes occurred at intersections in Allegheny County. Our analysis highlighted 787 high crash intersections, many of which where nearby each other creating zones with high concentrations of dangerous intersections. These 24 zones, highlighted by two with over 100 crashes each, are nearly all in densely populated areas of Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas.
1. Pittsburgh: West End Bridge Zone – This zone is one of the smallest from the study and contains only three high risk locations – yet 111 crashes occurred within it. It includes the most dangerous location in Allegheny County, West End Bridge and West Carson Street.
2. Downtown Pittsburgh: Mellon Green Zone – This zone in Downtown Pittsburgh, encapsulates Mellon Green Park and stretches from First Avenue all the way to Sixth Avenue. This zone covers the largest amount land area and contains 109 collisions and 13 high risk locations.
Intersection Safety Tips
As our data has shown, intersections can be potentially dangerous for drivers in Allegheny County. Here are some tips to prevent any collisions, and ensure everyone on the road is as safe as possible.
- Follow the fundamentals. Adhering to the basic rules of driving can vastly improve your safety in intersection. Always use your turn signals, frequently look at your blind spots, and when you’re slowing down, match the speed of the car ahead of you.
- Avoid/minimize distractions. Turn off your phone, turn down the volume of your music, and do not do anything else that may otherwise take your attention off the world. In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers.
- Watch for lights. Brake lights, traffic lights, and crosswalk lights should all be checked before crossing an intersection – especially when make turns at an intersection.
- Do not go immediately on green. By waiting a few seconds after a light turns green, you prevent driving into the path of a driver potentially running a red light.
- Straighten your wheels and hold the brake while waiting to go. If your wheels are turned, someone who rear-ends you can push you into an even more dangerous situation.
By being constantly aware of your surroundings, you can do your best to ensure a safe trip through an intersection.
Data and Methodology
We analyzed 2014-2016 crash data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, specifically all records marked as intersection related. These 15,701 records include collisions that occurred at freeway on and off ramps as well as traditional four way intersections.
Groups of dangerous intersections within 250 feet of each other create high risk zones.
More information about methodology and data source are available upon request.